Verizon, Sprint and AT&T will all offer Samsung’s upcoming tablet PC in the United States, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. If that rumor proves true, it could offer the Samsung Galaxy Tab a potentially sizable advantage in its battle against the Apple iPad, which offers 3G connectivity via AT&T.
The Journal’s Sept. 11 article, which cited unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” also suggested the Samsung Galaxy Tab would be the focus of Samsung’s Sept. 16 event in New York City. Officially, Samsung has only said that the event will involve an “announcement” of an “Android-powered device” along with the debut of its Media Hub mobile application.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab originally debuted Sept. 3 at the IFA 2010 consumer electronics show in Berlin. It features a TFT-LCD 7-inch screen and a Cortex A8 1GHz processor, 16GB of internal memory scalable to 32GB of external memory, and runs Google Android 2.2. Pricing for the U.S. remains officially unannounced, but various European Websites have the Tab listed for roughly $1,000 in either pounds sterling or Euros; presumably, carrier-subsidized versions of the device will feature a lower price-point.
Samsung’s other Android-based competitor currently on the market, the Dell Streak, sells for $299 with an AT&T contract, and $549.99 unlocked. A variety of other manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion, are reportedly developing their own tablet PCs that either run Android, Windows 7, or a proprietary operating system such as the Palm webOS.
A tablet PC subsidized like a smartphone, with a two-year contract, would differ in some aspects from the iPad, whose more “a la carte” model allows users to switch off their 3G connection-and the charges that come with it-on a monthly basis.
Samsung likely hopes that the Galaxy Tab’s features, including a video-conferencing capability and support for Adobe Flash 10.1, will give it the boost necessary to carve market-share away from the iPad, which sold 3.27 million units for the third fiscal quarter of 2010.
However, some kinks may need to be worked out with the tablet’s Android 2.2 operating system. “Froyo [Google’s codename for Android 2.2] is not optimized for use on tablets,” Hugo Barra, director of mobile products for Google, told TechRadar. “If you want Android market on that platform, the apps just wouldn’t run; [Froyo] is not designed for that form factor.”
Some applications running on Android 2.2 tablets, then, will not be optimized for the larger screen; but the upcoming Android 3.0, codenamed “Gingerbread,” may well fix that by offering 1280×760 resolution for larger device displays.